In the Garden

Perennial Place Marks

Do you forget where your perennials are planted during their dormant stage? You can identify each by painting a picture of it on a stone and placing the stone in your garden where the flower will come up next year. In addition to helping you remember where your perennials are planted, the rocks will help you visualize your garden during the winter months so you can consider changes you might make when spring comes.

Darlene Lynch Virginia

Scarecrow Snake

If you're bothered by the noise and mess of roosting birds, try this idea. Cut off a 6-foot section of old garden hose. Paint it with bright colors to resemble a snake, and be sure to include black dots to resemble eyes on the head. Now wind the "snake" around one of the lower branches of any tree that has been adopted by a roost of starlings or other undesirable birds. The birds will complain, but within a day or two, they'll select another site for their roost.

M. Milhaus Iowa

Vine Helpers

Square plastic clips used to close bread bags come in handy for supporting young vines. When a vine begins to climb wires or netting, slip the cliparound its stem, and hook it onto the support. This holds the vine gently in position until it can catch hold.

Vonnie Kovacic British Columbia

Put a Lid on It

When weeding or trimming bushes in your garden, place your clippings on an overturned trash can lid. When the lid fills up, simply dump the clippings into the trash can or compost pile.

Ellen Dickey New Jersey

Knee Saver

Protect your knees while working in the garden. Take a hot water bottle and fill it with sand or sawdust. It makes an ideal kneeling pad. If you're working with garden-size bags of soil, those work, too.

Mary Stager Minnesota

Posthole Shovel

You can easily remove rocks and other debris from the postholes you are digging by using a standard downspout elbow as a shovel.

George Snell New Jersey

Tree Protectors

Protect the bark on your trees from weed whackers. Cut the top and bottom off a plastic two-liter bottle. Take the center part of the bottle, cut it vertically, and place the bottle around the trunk for protection.

Florence Atkins New Jersey

Dust Your Garden

Here's a simple and inexpensive way to fertilize your garden. Use an ice pick to punch holes in the bottom of an empty one-gallon milk jug. Cut a hole in the top of the jug -- removing the spout but leaving the handle. Put some fertilizer in the jug and walk slowly around the garden to evenly treat your plants.

Emma Lee Ewing Maryland

Spray Garden Tools

Coat your shovels, hoes, and other gardening tools with cooking spray before spending the day weeding, planting, and hoeing. The spray will ensure easy cleanup when your work is through.

Julie Munch Minnesota

Circle Your Trees

This easy tip can help you make neat, circular gardens around your trees. Tie a loop of rope between the tree base and the base of the shovel handle. By keeping the rope tight while you edge the garden, you'll be sure to maintain a constant radius. The result is a nice, even circle around the tree.

George Morris, Jr. New Jersey

On the Cutting Edge

Here's a great way to ease your shrub clipping cleanup. Simply take an old shower curtain or sheet and cut a slit halfway through on one side. Then, place the sheet around the base of the bush. After trimming, gently pull out the curtain and discard your clippings.

Handy Storage

Hang a mailbox with a lid outside and use it to store small gardening tools and gloves. These items will be readily available when you need them, and they'll be protected from the weather.

Lattice 1-2-3

Prevent animals from digging in your flower garden with a piece of lattice and three easy steps. 1) Cut a piece of treated lattice to fit your flowerbed; 2) Lay it on top of the soil and plant your seeds in the openings; 3) Water and wait. Your flowers will cover the lattice and animals won't be able to dig in the soil below.

Jeannie Logan Indiana

Shrub Sled

When you need to transplant a large shrub, put it on a snow shovel and slide it across the lawn.

Mrs. C.E. Thomas Arkansas

Pest Deterrent

Here's a great way to keep deer, rabbits, and other wild animals away from your garden. Simply cut shavings from any strongly scented soap and place them around the garden perimeter. Repeat after hard rains.

Barbara Davis Virginia

Pest Deterrent Part Two

Keep insects away from the apples growing on your tree. Coat a real apple with "insect trap coating," then string it to your tree. A real apple should trap twice as many maggot flies as the plastic traps you can buy. It costs less, too. Take precautions to identify the apple if you live in a neighborhood where a child might "pick" it.

Kurt Fredrickson California

Clever Weed Killer

You can kill a weed without harming surrounding plants. Just spray the weed killer through an empty papertowel or toilet paper cylinder.

W.W. Ratliff Texas

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